I was reporting on a shoot recently, where I was kindly driven to the pegs after elevenses. We passed a tipped-up trailer in a farm yard that dispenses grain into the quad-bike spinners to feed the pheasants. The door at the bottom of the trailer was slightly ajar, allowing the grain to trickle onto the muddy ground below.
The shoot owner was at the wheel of the 4×4, telling a story about the estate. But when he saw the grain escaping, he slammed on the breaks and jumped out the vehicle. Unable to close the chute door by hand, he ran to a nearby barn to fetch a spade, which he used to hammer the door shut.
“That should keep it in,” he said, breathless. “Can’t waste a drop of that stuff. Last year we paid £90 a tonne for wheat. This year we’re paying £180. At those rates we’re going to have to put our own prices up next year. I suspect many other shoots will have to do the same.”
Good news for arable farmers, no doubt, but possibly bad news for shooters. Anybody else encountering similar problems?